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Holy Rule for Dec. 1

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Huge Deo gratias: Larry, for whom we prayed for employment, has received answers to the prayers. After 1017 days, and 535 job applications he has landed
    Message 1 of 228 , Nov 30, 2008
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      +PAX

      Huge Deo gratias: Larry, for whom we prayed for employment, has received answers to the prayers. After 1017 days, and 535 job applications he has landed a job!

      Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and
      grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

      April 1, August 1, December 1

      Chapter 50: On Sisters Who are Working Far From the Oratory or Are on
      a Journey

      Those sisters who are working at a great distance
      and cannot get to the oratory at the proper time --
      the Abbess judging that such is the case --
      shall perform the Work of God
      in the place where they are working,
      bending their knees in reverence before God.

      Likewise those who have been sent on a journey
      shall not let the appointed Hours pass by,
      but shall say the Office by themselves as well as they can
      and not neglect to render the task of their service.

      REFLECTION

      Look, if you think your marriage vows take a powder while you're
      traveling on business, chances are a lot of people pity your spouse.
      There are jobs that we do not carry with us. We are not surgeons,
      welders or toll booth ticket-takers at home- at least hopefully! But
      marriage is not a job, it's a vocation and so is monastic life.
      Vocations stay with one everywhere, at all times and places. One is
      ALWAYS a spouse, always a parent, always a monastic.

      Hey, it is World AIDS Day, and there are a lot of similarities
      between monasticism done right and HIV. I should know- I've been HIV+
      for nearly 20 years and a monk for nearly 17. For rather crass starters,
      both get in your blood and if they do, there is no cure! Done right,
      both are always with you. Since my diagnosis, even in my dreams,
      I am always HIV+, never once have I dreamed of my current self
      otherwise. I wish I could say exactly the same of monasticism, but
      even there, my dreams that are not flashbacks are most usually about
      Jerome, not my secular name, Phil!

      Writ large across my heart are the letters "HIV" and I am still
      working on making "OSB" stand out in equally high relief there! At
      some point, if we are lucky, we realize that our vocation really is
      who we've become. My high school buddy, Sr. Lany Jo, referred to me
      as Phil on the phone a while back. As I often do, I jokingly reminded
      her that Phil was "dead"- a distressing half-truth at best, since
      Phil can be terribly stubborn about refusing to expire totally... Quickly,
      I added, "Of course, if you want Phil, I could resurrect him with
      very little trouble. Just give me a really big bottle of liquor and a
      piano bar full of good-looking customers. No problem!" Lany was very
      quick to assure me that she preferred the monk she Southernly refers
      to as Jerry Lee, and to reassure me that, while she loved Phil, she
      loves Jerry Lee much more!

      Virus and vows! Believe me, there were times I wished I had neither, but I always
      have both! Most of the time, I am glad of that, in very mysterious
      ways, mysteriously grateful for both. In my case, at least, neither
      would have been my totally free first choice, but they are undeniably
      where God has placed me and both have done me a world of good, most
      often through their hassles, but also through their ordinary days!
      Cured of either tomorrow, I would never be the same exactly. Nothing
      could completely obliterate the years that either have given me,
      nothing could completely uproot their lessons in my heart.

      We live in a secular society that urges us to follow our dreams.
      Well, m'dears, I have swooned at the poetry in that one for more
      decades than I care to admit, but it ain't always true. Why on earth
      should we ascribe an infallibility to our own dreams that we are
      unwilling under any but the most exceptionally extreme circumstances
      to apply to anyone else? Whoops! There's a real passing chance our
      dreams may be wrong, may have to be given up. I am living proof to
      myself that fighting that surrender is terribly hard and just as
      useless. Yes, choice often enters into whom we become, but not
      always, and sometimes the things that become us are the ones we quite
      pointedly have NOT chosen.

      Few, if any, choose to be gay or straight, some do not choose to be
      parents, some choose one spouse only to find that person changes
      horrifically later on and nobody in their right mind chooses to
      become HIV+. Many, many things are in some ways forced upon us, but
      those things can become fully graced things of wonder, if only we let
      God work. If only we would trust Him...

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome Leo, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA



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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Br. Tobias, OSB, for his monastic community, his family and for all who mourn him. Please pray
      Message 228 of 228 , Jan 19, 2009
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        +PAX

        Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Br. Tobias, OSB, for his monastic community, his family and for all who mourn him.

        Please pray that the US Congress and the new administration will respect all human life, from conception till natural death.

        Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and
        grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL


        January 20, May 21, September 20
        Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

        To fear the Day of Judgment.
        To be in dread of hell.
        To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
        To keep death daily before one's eyes.
        To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
        To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
        When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
        immediately.
        And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
        To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
        Not to love much talking.
        Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
        Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
        To listen willingly to holy reading.
        To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
        Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
        sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
        Not to fulfil the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
        To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
        herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
        Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
        Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
        holy, that one may be truly so called.

        REFLECTION


        The first four on today's list are not very palatable to many modern
        ears, but, like all of the Instruments of Good Works, they are
        important, they are interrelated and each one helps one fulfill the
        others. Arguably, one could say that the focus of the first four is
        the fifth: "To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life."

        We have largely "gotten over" dreading Judgment. We went from a
        paralyzing, Jansenistic, scrupulous fear of it right into a smug
        assurance that everyone passes the test with honors. Well, there's got to
        be truth hidden between those two false extremes somewhere!

        I know, beyond any doubt that I shall be both delighted and very,
        very embarrassed and ashamed to meet God face to face, to find that
        my faith has been confirmed. Ah, joy at the confirmation, but oh,
        crushing shame at the simultaneous confirmation of how very far short
        of Him I have fallen, through choice, through laziness, through
        negligence, through sin.

        One can dread that realization without thinking that God is some
        intrinsically mean sort, just waiting for one to trip up, hunting for the
        slightest loophole to nail us. Quite the opposite is the truth! God's awesome
        Divine Mercy seeks every possible way to bring us to Himself and
        His rewards of bliss. Every possible way!!

        Let us admit that we have been all too good at tripping
        on our own: God has no need to duplicate services there! Fearing
        judgment is part and parcel of knowing who we are. We have all
        sinned. And I know I have failed faith, hope and love, again and again
        and again, usually with no more excuse than selfishness.

        We keep goals in sight while training. Forget the Olympic gold and
        you will quite likely forget why you are training so hard. For us,
        between now and the "Olympics" of death, it is only the training that
        matters. It is also good to recall that, as Benedictines, our goal is
        NOT simply to "pass", but to stand on the podium.

        That's not because we are any better, it is only because
        we ourselves have added great holiness to our goal. Why else embrace
        the Rule? Keeping "death daily before our eyes," we are ALWAYS at
        the Olympics, thanks to our vow of conversion of manner of life, we
        are daily in training, every minute, in fact.

        All of these four lead to the fifth, keeping guard over one's
        actions, or mindfulness. Here is a great connection between the
        Benedictine way and the Buddhist way.

        The Buddhists have a saying that monastics can preach a sermon just
        by the way they walk. That's what the care of mindfulness can do!
        Just wait till we get to the 12th degree of humility, which says that
        the monastics' humility will shine through their outward appearance,
        whether walking or sitting or working or praying.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA

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